Posted 07.18.2010

Posted 07.18.2010

Web Analytics = Fail

I’ve been challenging myself to read through the personal MBA. For those unfamiliar, a few people that got their MBA at Harvard, decided that the same education (if not better) could be achieved by reading a number of books. (and by number, I think it’s currently 96!)

Web Analytics: An Hour A Day
One of the books on the list is Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. So far, for a book about numbers and statistics, it’s proved very readable. grin

The introduction alone has me reconsidering how we view analytics. I told you the other week, that we had declared a blog war in my office. So far, we’ve only used hits and page views to measure success, but according to this book, that should be questionable.


A page view is generally the number of pages a user will visit when they go to your site.

If you run an e-commerce site (or any other site for that matter) and the user can’t find what they’re looking, naturally you’re page view count will increase as they’re clicking around, trying to find what they’re looking for.

On the other hand, they could find what they’re looking for immediately, but the price is better somewhere. They leave.

Which is the case? A page view count will tell you neither.


Way back in the way back, hits tracked how many requests the server received for data. Then, a request for data should translate into a page visit, right? More hits = more visitors. Well, what if there are images and media embedded on the page? Then, a typical page will cause 25 hits on the server. Excuse me? What are we tracking? requests for data? number of page views? number of visitors?

Top Exit Pages

An exit page is the last page that a user looks at before leaving your site. What does that information tell you? Those are bad pages? or that the user simply found what they were looking for? The exit rate doesn’t tell you good or bad.

This is only chapter 1!  —Should be good a read. If you’re interested, here’s the book’s website or the author’s blog.